On the Road again

•May 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There’s something strangely special about airports for me. Despite the layovers, expensive bars and shops and an overbearing sense of total exhaustion they have a special energy to them. Perhaps it’s their nature as travel hubs: Any two people sitting next to each other could be going to entirely separate corners of the country or even the globe. They are, at the very least, a feast for the senses.

 

At the moment I’m standing (Sitting if you want honesty) in line waiting for my flight to Detroit to finishing deplaning and cleaning itself up. From Detroit I’ll be renting a car and crossing the US-Canada border into Windsor for my friend Natasha’s wedding. It’s my first time going into Canada and though I won’t have much time to look around (I’m in town for the wedding tomorrow and then flying back out on Sunday) it’s still somewhat significant. I’ll be meeting up with several old friends, some of the first I actually made and kept over the internet, and I’m really excited to see them.

 

I’ll have tons of pictures and a wedding update later on as the plane is going to be boarding in a few minutes now, so until then stay wandering.

The Great Road Trip

•April 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In three months I’ll be moving off of Grand Bahama Island. My end destination: Seattle in Washington State. Why would I forsake a tropical paradise for somewhere that’s cold and rainy? I have a few friends out there. That’s really all the reason I need to go somewhere, either friends or a job opportunity. More importantly though, I have a car to get from it’s storage spot in Miami to it’s new home. And thus comes the epic, two week roam that is being called The Great Road Trip. Two weeks of driving across the US and seeing as many friends as I know along the way. I had a full route planned, but a recent change of date for one of the major stops on the trip has me re-planning. I’ll make a better post about it once I get it sorted out again.

Wanderlust

•April 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The last two weeks have presented me with an update quandary. I didn’t want to do a photo bomb again entry again, but there hasn’t been much I’ve found this month that I could consider post worthy. Life on an island like Grand Bahama is quiet, and it rolls on inexorably whether the day is uneventful or not. Lacking anything, I figured I’d spend this post discussing just what it was that originally prompted me to make this blog: My desire to travel.

As a kid I loved looking through the National Geographic magazines my dad and grandfather got. I never actually read them, it was the pictures of far off places, amazing animals and fascinating people were what always grabbed my attention. Essentially though it was only a cat’s curiosity. They were nice to look at but I couldn’t be sure these things actually existed.  So it went until I went with my grandfather to Scotland during the summer when I was eight. My brother had gone a year or two before and I remember being intensely jealous. Even then though I had no real concept of just how far Scotland was. The most travel experience I’d had at the time was jumping across to Florida, and I thought even that short trip was a long ways away. 

When my turn to go to Scotland came, I remember thinking this was going to be a piece of cake. Running around with my grandparents for a month in a place that was just slightly colder and (I thought) essentially the same as Freeport with a few minor differences. Two flights and twelve hours in the air and my thoughts on the whole thing had already changed. The shell shock continued on once we landed and more than I had imagined was different. Exactly what I can’t recall now, but I remember something in my mind thinking “It’s all so different and awesome!” That month was one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever taken, though in retrospect if I could tell my eight year old self anything it’d be “Try everything!”

Every little difference amazed me, every sight that was different from the Caribbean style architecture and feeling I was used to refreshed me, and I wanted more. I thought to myself, “If all this exists, then what about all of the things I see in National Geographic?” I made up my mind then: I was going to see everything that I could. Even though it had just been awoken, my wanderlust stayed quiet after that trip. I think my mind knew that I wasn’t psychologically or financially equipped to come to terms with the urge to travel, so I just let it be. It laid dormant for nearly ten years when, while I was in eleventh grade, the high school I was attending got a few foreign exchange students. The first, Peter, was from Hungary. The second, Justine, was from France. The third, Daniella, was from Guatemala. Meeting and interacting with them reminded me that there was a world outside of the islands and Florida, and I decided to try and enroll in the same exchange program they were a part of. My goal: Japan. I ended up in Thailand, and after that year there was no going back. Any time I returned to Grand Bahama after that I could only take being on island for a few weeks to a month at a time without starting to feel like I was wasting time.

The seven and a half months I’ve spent on Grand Bahama since I left Panama has been the longest I have been on the island since 2005, and Island Fever is starting to sink in. I plan to move soon though, and a future post will outline the finer details of that move. I’ll leave you with this for now though, And remember: All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.

Northwestern Exposure

•March 28, 2012 • 1 Comment

Leaving Freeport after I arrived back from Panama was never an “if” question. From the day I got back it was always “When”. The location wasn’t particularly up for debate either. Like before my opportunity in Panama came up, I have my sights set on moving to Seattle in Washington State. Why Seattle you ask? Well, as the name of this blog implies I don’t need much of a reason to travel to or live in places I’ve never been to before. In this case though I must credit my friend Lexi for really selling how awesome Seattle is. A few years back I invited her down to Freeport for new years, and for various reasons I ended up heading out to Seattle before she came to Freeport and I ended up hooked. To get back to the point, back in January I and my god-sister Ashley went out to Seattle for a week to scout the city out. Here are the pictures from when we did.

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Rise from the ashes

•March 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” -Mark Twain

 

It has been a long time since I posted an update, far too long. This is mainly due to complacency and laziness on my part, but I’m slowly getting more organized and am resolved to make up for a lot of missed posts. I’ll not really get into what I’ve been up to the past eight months, except that I haven’t gotten much travelling done and that I’ve left Panama and am back in my home town of Freeport.

 

Here and now I’m resolving to make at least four updates a month, on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of each month. I’ll update in between if I feel the need to. I do have some stories to tell, but for now you’ll have to make do with a lone picture.

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Until next time, keep wandering.

•July 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

For clarification: The numbers here represent all types of seafood, including mollusks and crustaceans.

We all remember the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event right? For those who might be a bit rusty in regards to their extinction events, a massive fuck off rock crashed into Earth and set off a chain of events that killed 75% of the species inhabiting the planet. This is what killed the Dinosaurs and paved the way for mankind to eventually rise up and dominate the Earth in ways our Saurian predecessors never could.

I could be wrong about them being extinct though.

That aside though I think we can all agree that extinction sucks, especially when it’s our fault. Every now and then a story will come on the news about some species or other that is borderline extinct because of human dickery. Sometimes a serious effort is made to save the poor dying creature, but most people don’t care unless it’s furry, peaceful, or relate-able.  Furry Badassery can get you on that list too.

Is he just not cuddly enough to deserve a horde of pissed off hippies to defend him?

I digress though. We were talking about Extinctions. Massive ones. Ones that have world changing repercussions. So imagine, if you will, that we’re right on the brink of an extinction event. Furthermore, no massive fuck off rock is due to crash into Earth until at least December of next year so we’re clear on that front. So what is this extinction event we’re on the brink of? How about the entire fucking ocean. One more thing: It’s pretty much all our fault (Only mostly our fault for you global warming/climate change deniers).

The reaction of the landlocked folk.

Let’s look at the numbers shall we? The global fishing industry employs 540 million people with work and is estimated to be worth $102 billion a year. In 2009 the global fishing industry yielded 145.1 million tons of fish (That number includes aquaculture). A fine industry wouldn’t you say? And who doesn’t like a nice, delicious seared tuna steak or whole fried fish for dinner?

Make noms not war.

All is not well in the seas though. The percentage of species being over exploited has risen has risen steadily over the years and as of 2008 was at 32%, where as 53% of species are being fully exploited. For the record, fully exploited means the current catch rate is at or near the sustainability level. To make matters worse, most of the stocks of the top ten caught fish are over exploited.

Sorry kids, Nemo and Dory didn’t actually get out of the net.

“So Daniel, if you’re so smart what do you propose we do?” You ask. Well friends, you have asked the right question of the right person. It involves strict fines and catch limits, an empowered UN and national responsibility. I build my case on the following points:

Over fishing is the easiest cause to deal with

Unlike Climate Change, whose solution is a switch from fossil fuels, over fishing is much more easily fought in the legislative arena. Not only do I think the laws should have stricter catch limits, they should also have harsher penalties for exceeding those limits (Legislation would allow for a grey zone in case of accidentally going over) in addition to penalties for out of season and illegal catching. No more slap on the wrist bullshit. Make them feel it.

It’s as much about the economy as the ecology

Which would you prefer, a short term dip with the industry surviving and providing benefits long term, or immediate gratification with a massive drop when we go past the point of no return?

The collapse of the oceanic ecosystem will affect other industries

So the worst has happened. The Ocean has played host to said extinction event, the oceans and seas are practically empty and we’ve seen economic hell break out. Well, at least we won’t have to worry about shark attacks at the beach anymore. Jellyfish though, that’s another story.Populations have been rising due to the depletion of their natural predators, and unlike said natural predators they can survive the acidification the ocean is currently going through. Places all over the world rely on beach tourism to pay their bills, but no one wants to swim in an ocean devoid of life and swarming with asshole jellyfish.

Unfortunately I doubt anything will be done. The UN is too toothless, and corporations for the most part get away with anything and everything. Give up on the next generation getting to know what fish are.

Independence Day musings

•July 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The rain drums out a marching band beat on the roof, sometimes hard and loud and fast, other times slow and gentle. It’s followed up by the deep and steady ōdaiko like rumble of thunder and the strobe flash of lightning. Occasionally a plane takes off or lands, overwhelming the orchestra with a baritone roar. Looking out from my balcony table I can’t see the mountains far off on the mainland, not even their outline. The rain falls just the right way to hit and soak me but leave my raw glass of rum untouched. The curtains billow with the wind on the other side of the balcony door, chilling the apartment as if the AC was going full blast. The humidity later is going to be evil, but the breeze is worth it. All in all, I don’t think I could’ve asked for a more relaxing Independence day.

Given the hell I’d have writing this with paper or a computer I’m jotting this down on a blank dive slate and taking photos of the slate when it gets full for later transcription. I finished my Divemaster training yesterday and on Monday I start training with Neverdry, the thing that brought me down here. It’s been a long time coming, but I think it’s gotten here at the right time. I didn’t notice it before, but I was kind of losing myself and forgetting why I was here during my training. Everything I’ve done to this point and everything I have planned after this seemed like they were things that happened to someone else, or at the very least realistic dreams. Working with Mike and Jen at Neverdry seemed like something that would happen sometime far off the in the distant future.

Finishing my Divemaster though has hit it home that my time here is limited, and not just by my want to see other places. Money is also a factor, and I’m almost out. I’ve had to ask my dad if I can borrow some money from him not just to get me through the end of the month, but also to pay Mike and Jen half of the training fee. I’m also going to be moving into a cheaper apartment at the end of the month, one with roommates, so my rent for next month thankfully isn’t an issue. Beyond next month I’m not sure though. I’m not sure how much money I’ll make with Mike and Jen, and I’d really rather not borrow any more money from my dad after this. It’s not a fun choice though.

For my non-Bahamian readers, Freeport in August and September is a dismal scene. The tourists have all gone back for school and work, and almost nothing is happening. Given the economic hell Freeport has been going through for the last five years it’s even worse than usual. When I run out of money here though, I guess I’ll have no choice. Part of me wishes I could stay here longer, but I’m not sure I’d be able to stand it. Bocas is a scaled down version of home in more ways I’m comfortable with. It’s different enough that I like it, but too much like home for me to be comfortable for long.

Going back to the rum for now. If I’m to live up to my drunken promise/threat to ride through town wearing my Bahamian flag as a cape and handing out rum shots at the dive shops, I’m going to need to be at least half drunk.

Mushin

•July 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been slowly putting this blog together for a week or two now, tinkering with layouts and finding pictures to use in the banner mainly. When it came time to write though, I realized I couldn’t think of a good first post. Should I introduce myself? Give a little something about the little I’ve done in my life so far and what my plans for the future are? Or should I just start with something weird and twisted and unnatural right off the bat? Eventually I just shrugged my shoulders and figured something would come to me eventually. Of course it was that same belief that’s killed every other personal blog I’ve ever made. Hell, it’s been what’s happened to anything I’ve tried to write lately. Died on the vine.

Cue today. I get into work, hand in the mapping project to the Instructor, open my laptop and jump onto Stumbleupon. As usual I lost track of the sites I roamed before coming to the page that prompted me to start typing: Mushin. They mention the concept in The Last Samurai, but not by name so I never realized there was more to the concept or that it was part of Zen philosophy. I read and re-read the article a few times and figured I’d try to apply the concept to my writing in hopes of getting back into it. We’ll see I suppose, but given that it got this post out of me it’s off to a good start.

Welcome to Sore Feet Stories, a blog about the long and twisting road I’m set to wander down.